During the 2018-19 school year, teams of middle schoolers tackled the problem of plastic pollution in our waterways with the National Geographic GeoChallenge. First-place teams from sixteen regional competitions traveled to the 2019 Geo Championships in Washington, D.C. in May 2019. This blog series introduces you to each of those teams in their own words.* Registration for next year’s #NatGeoChallenge opens in August at NatGeoEd.org/GeoChallenge.
Meet Team Marine!
Team Marine worked to prevent plastics from entering the marine ecosystem by addressing plastics at the source. Following a coastal cleanup in Horseshoe Bay, the team was inspired to start a petition to require local restaurants to replace plastic straws with environmentally friendly straws such as those made with cornstarch. The team worked with California Assemblymember Marc Levine to refine their petition and strategy, and reached out to local businesses and their town council to implement change.
From: San Domenico School, California
Team Motto: Oceans for the better!
List one way you’ve changed your single-use plastic use:
Alexandra: I now have metal straws that I use with my family.
Gavin: When going to the grocery store, our family always brings our own reusable cloth bag.
The biggest obstacle you had to overcome as a team: We all have strong voices and like to take charge, which did not really work at first because we were all competing against each other. Even though we sometimes argue, our ideas came through on this project. We worked together, crafted an idea that involved everyone’s ideas, and encouraged each other to speak up. We got to know each other better. We bonded.
When I think of National Geographic, I think of…
Hannah: Scientists, amazing field work, writing pieces, National Geographic Magazine, great photographs
Registration for the 2019-2020 National Geographic GeoChallenge opens in August.
*Team responses have been lightly edited for grammar.